As we’re becoming more and more attached to our phones, tablets, and laptops, the way brands connect with us as consumers is shifting. From print ads and billboards to television ads and online ads, companies are continually adapting their ad strategy to attract consumers where they are.
We spend more and more time each day scrolling through our newsfeeds across dozens of social media platforms. We don’t spend as much time in front of the television, instead, many of us are looking at YouTube videos, reading blogs, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, and saving things on Pinterest… this has necessitated a need for brands to shift their focus from more traditional methods of advertising to utilizing influencers to market products and services.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is simply using people who are trusted, well-known, and reputable (aka, influencers) to market your product or service to their fan/follower base. We see this all of the time across social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat.
For example, if you’re a toy company that sells eco-conscious wooden toys at a big-ticket price, you’ll work to get your toys into the hands of celebrities who have children. They’ll share a picture of their child with your toy and you’ll likely see a big uptick in sales. That is influencer marketing.
Is influencer marketing new?
No. Influencer marketing has been around for centuries, but we’ve given it a flashy name and more and more companies are willing (and able) to invest in influencer marketing. Now that there are so many channels that can be used to communicate with customers, companies don’t have to pay millions for an ad spot during the Superbowl. It can be as simple as contacting a few social media influencers and providing them with free product or paying a fee. Many brands are partnering with influencers and launching entire product lines in partnership with that influencer, thereby getting their products in front of an audience that may be untapped for the brand. This is a win/win for the influencer because they are aligning themselves with a major brand, getting paid (oh, how we all love long walks to the bank), and maximizing their influencer status.
Is influencer marketing right for your brand?
In a nutshell, YES, influencer marketing is right for your brand. Now, your target audience, best influencers, investments, etc. will vary, and you’ll need to hire someone who knows influencer events backwards and forwards, but nearly every company can benefit from influencer marketing.
Here are just a few of the benefits of influencer marketing:
1. Increases brand awareness
Even the most notable brands utilize influencer marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy. This week Mabelline launched a new eye shadow palette in collaboration with YouTube and Instagram influencer MakeupShayla (who boasts a whopping 2.5 million followers). Utilizing influencers can help get your product in front of millions of eyes. The more visible your brand is, the more expansive your reach (we can go on and on about increased sales, increased website traffic, etc. all in all it’s a win/win situation).
2. Authenticates your brand
Ads are all around us. You’ve probably experienced “ad blindness”, the phenomenon that occurs when you easily skip past an ad in your Facebook or Instagram feed in favor of other content. Influencer marketing provides your brand with authenticity; someone real is using and loving your product, and their audience already knows them and trusts them.
3. Offers access to super-targeted audiences
Your influencer has already grown a targeted audience. With just a little bit of effort on your part (i.e. finding the right influencer for your brand) you can have instant access to their built-in audience.
4. High ROI ($$$)
You don’t want to spend a bunch of money on marketing that isn’t going to work. 81% of brands using influencer marketing have reported positive results (source).
Are you asking yourself, what does this have to do with influencer events? Well, we’re happy you asked!
Most brands realize influencer marketing is essential to their business. It works, it’s valuable, and offers incredible ROI. But, 75% of them struggle to connect with influencers. That’s where these events come in (source).
One of the best ways to connect with influencers is for your brand to host an influencer marketing event. You’ll come up with a curated guest list of influencers (typically, your PR representative will take on this task) who are a good fit for your brand (and whose audience is also your target audience). Your event should be fun (we give you tips on how to wow your influencers at your next event here). The goal is for your influencers to fall in love with your brand and want to hop on SnapChat and Instagram while they’re dancing the night away at the most amazing event they’ve ever been to. If they fall in love with your brand at the event, they’ll help their audience fall in love, too.
You can’t just cold-email influencers or wait around for someone to reach out to you. Take action, develop a strategy and hire a planner to help you create a killer influencer event, and start connecting with the right influencers to take your brand to the next level.